‘My reflection on receiving Wales Deanery BEST Award 2017, Innovation in Education’ by Dr Louise Cook

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Dr Louise Cook is an Associate Specialist in Sexual Health at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and recipient of the Wales Deanery BEST Award 2017 for ‘Staff and Associate Specialist Award for Innovation in Education’.

“We are delighted to let you know that you have been nominated for the Wales Deanery BEST/BSAS Award 2017.”

Last autumn, I remember reading the flyer promoting the Wales Deanery BEST Awards and can recall wondering what a trainer would need to have accomplished to be considered for such an award.

I made the assumption that GPs and doctors working in a hospital setting would be those considered, rather than someone like myself working in a community based setting. It was therefore a complete surprise to open an email from the Wales Deanery and read the above statement. When I checked out the website I saw photographs of past award recipients and saw faces I recognised.

From being asked to write a personal statement, and then to presenting a summary of my teaching highlights to the award panel, proved an enlightening experience. To take time out to stop and reflect on the range of teaching and training activities and events I have undertaken, together with the different subject matter and variety of audiences I have had the privilege to teach over many years, proved to be a challenging but insightful exercise.

It wasn’t until the awards ceremony; a fabulous event held at the National Museum Cardiff, that I learnt that I was the winner of the ‘Innovation in Education’ award.

A common theme throughout my years as a trainer has been the ongoing work I have undertaken to raise awareness and recognition of children and young people at risk of child sexual exploitation, both through research and teaching/training. To receive an award in recognition of this work felt a great achievement.

Whereas NHS consultants are recognised for their contributions to service delivery and patient care through Clinical Excellence Awards and merit awards, as an associate specialist, this was the first time this work had been formally recognised outside of my directorate.

While I may have won this award, I have an amazing team behind me who have helped and supported me throughout, learnt through my training, and adapted to the new changes I have implemented. They were as excited as I when I shared the award with them. I am especially grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from my clinical director.

Receipt of this award has opened new doors for me both in terms of teaching and also recognition of the CSE work I have undertaken. It has also given me the incentive I needed to get this work published. I am now looking at innovative ways to use the educational bursary.

I would like to thank the Wales Deanery for my award.

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